Paintings showing drag ball and British theatre's first gay kiss acquired for the nation

Paintings showing drag ball and British theatre's first gay kiss acquired for the nation
News
Posted on 30 Jun 2020

Five 1960s paintings by Leonard Rosoman which depict the first gay kiss in British theatre history and an extravagant drag ball have been acquired by Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, West Sussex.


War artist Rosoman painted the pictures after attending performances of a play called A Patriot For Me. 

Written by the ‘angry young man’ of British 1950s & ’60s theatre, John Osborne, with whom Rosoman was friends, the play told the true story of Alfred Redl, a blackmailed gay spy in the Austro-Hungarian army.  


Although initially banned because of its homosexual content, the play found its way onto the stage of London’s Royal Court theatre thanks to a legal loophole.

The paintings and gouaches, from the estate of the artist’s widow, Roxanne Wruble Rosoman, have been acquired under the acceptance in lieu scheme, settling £96,600 of tax.


Image: Leonard Rosoman

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